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Original Contribution  |   April 2002
Impact of a tornado on a community hospital
Article Information
Disaster Medicine / Emergency Medicine
Original Contribution   |   April 2002
Impact of a tornado on a community hospital
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, April 2002, Vol. 102, 225-228. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2002.102.4.225
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, April 2002, Vol. 102, 225-228. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2002.102.4.225
Abstract

A significant tornado passed through the Oklahoma City metropolitan area on May 3,1999. This study was undertaken at St Michael Hospital (Oklahoma City, Okla) to describe the impact on a community hospital's emergency department close to the tornado strike zone. Cases were defined as patients receiving diagnostic procedures, care, and interventions at the study hospital's emergency department for injuries related to the tornado. Medical records were abstracted and entered into a custom database; descriptive analysis was done using Microsoft Excel 97. A total of 147 patients met the study criteria, with an admission rate of 31 (21%) [corrected] of 147 patients (6 [19.4%] of 31 to the operating room, 4 [12.9%] of 31 to the intensive care unit, and 21 [67.7%] [corrected] of 31 to ward beds). In addition, 4 (2.7%) of the 147 patients were transferred to tertiary-care facilities (3 pediatric patients with head injuries and 1 adult patient with spinal cord injury). Complex soft tissue wounds, head injuries, and fractures were the most common diagnoses. The number of head-injured patients arriving alive to the emergency department was higher than expected. Most soft tissue wounds were closed primarily in the emergency department. The authors recommend that preexisting referral patterns for trauma and specialty care should be a part of the overall disaster plans for community hospitals.